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Why so many young Iranians are voting in Friday's presidential election


Insight

Why so many young Iranians are voting in Friday's presidential election

Official figures show Iran’s youth aged 15-29 make up 24 percent of the population. That is about a quarter of the country’s 80 million people.

Whether they are supporters of the reformists’ favourite Hassan Rouhani or they are for the conservative candidate Ebrahim Raisi — one of four sharia law judges who oversaw executions of thousands of political prisoners in the 1980s — Iranian youth seem to have a passion for politics.

Euronews met Reihaneh, one of several young people arrested for dancing to Pharrel Williams’s song “Happy” and posting it on-line.

She said it was a supportive tweet from Hassan Rouhani’s that helped their release.

Reihaneh’s detention has not discouraged her from voting as she has high hopes for change.

“I see youngsters who actually believe that everybody must vote,” Reihaneh said. “Among those aged 16 and up to 26 years old, I see just few people who say they wouldn’t.”

“Young people all have mobile phones, and use social media,” she added. “They are very internet saavy. Regardless of their social class, they are aware of everything. They follow famous people and celebrities and monitor their views and check the news on their mobiles. This generation has grown up with mobile phones and tablets. Children who may not have a device, will borrow their mum’s once they get back home from school. I mean, these are the children of technology.”

Reihaneh’s friend Bardia also appeared in the controversial video, and was also arrested.

“If politics in a country is on the right track, then all the small and big events that take place, will fall on the right track, too,” Bardia told Euronews. “To me, as a person who works in the field of art, culture is more important. I can see that during this time, more attention been paid to culture and I feel that it has been his policy that has created such an atmosphere.”


The presidential candidates’ radio and TV debates have been very popular and closely followed by Iranians with a lot of interaction on social media.

Jafar is a student at the University of Tehran, a big hub of politics for educated young people.

I think, the University of Tehran where I study is one of the most political parts of the country’s academic entity,” Jafar said. “My classmates and those in my university are well aware that one of the elements of a democratic country is elections. To them, it is only logical not to deprive themselves of this opportunity.”

After two terms of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power, young Iranians are tasting the results of the nuclear deal with the West, a move that has led to helping the country out of years of international isolation.

The younger generation seems determined not to leave any political change to chance.